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How can I defend a traffic camera issued ticket for running a red light in Lynnwood, WA

Lynnwood, WA |

I received a ticket in the mail. Apparently, a street camera took a picture of me running a red light! Has anyone argued against these infractions in court? What's a good or bad defense?


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Attorney answers 4


You can go down to the lower lobby of the court/police station and view the pictures to see if you really have a defense. My opinion is that fighting these really aren't worth your time/money. They're not traffic violations and will not affect your insurance. They're the equivalent of a parking ticket (but they're generating huge amounts of revenue for the city). My wife got one. I sent in the check. I believe there is presently a challenge to this practice of taking your picture at the intersection, but am not aware that a decision has arrived.



Really, if they are the equivalent of a parking ticket, then why was my sister's car towed for having a suspended license? Yep, it happened on Friday and she could not get the car back until Monday. She paid $350 to the towing company and $100 to lakewood city hall. Please explain?

Schoen R Parnell

Schoen R Parnell


I would be happy to explain. Please go to my Avvo profile page and click on the green Lawyers Website button. Once at my website, please click on the Contact Us tab and complete the form to send me a confidential email. I will need your wife's full name and date of birth (hence the need for a confidential email) to check some case some information (I'm assuming this happened in Washington state).


Mr. Parnell has some very good points. The ticket will not affect your insurance premiums, but you should not ignore it or you could face some adverse licensing consequences. However, you still have the right to fight the ticket and many people do argue these cases in court. A good defense is one that a judge will buy, and a good defense in one place could be a bad defense in another place, which is why it's difficult for a professional to give you specific information without knowing all the facts. Congrats on considering whether to fight the ticket.


Set the case for trial. Request extensive discovery on the contracts between the city and the private vendor who maintains the system. If they deny the info serve a subpoena on them for the docs. Study all hearsay objections. The essence of hearsay is that it's not reliable unless some exception applies. However, even if one may apply you may overcome the presumed reliability by showing a pecuniary interest by the private vendor. The entire prosecution is based on hearsay.....


Here is how it works. A camera is located to show each vehicle that passes the white line on the ground at the surveyed intersection while the stop light is red. The movement will trigger the camera to take photos of the vehicle and license plate. Only upon review of the camera evidence does a ticket issue. In other words, the proof of the offense exists and that proof is in possession of the authorities before the ticket goes out by US mail.

Running a red traffic signal is a ticketable offense and is subject to a fine penalty. To determine if your rights have been violated you may inquire to view the camera evidence.

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